This homemade pita recipe is a game-changer! We’ve all had that dry pita bread from the grocery store. You know, the kind that crumbles when you try to open it to put the filling inside? This recipe is made with very basic ingredients and so easy to make. If you follow my recipe you will end up with the softest pita bread that you’ve ever had. Perfect for sandwiches, dipping in stews, party platters, or for slathering with butter and honey and enjoying with a cup of tea.
Watch the Video Tutorial Here:
Basic Pita Bread Ingredients:
- all-purpose flour
- a little granulated sugar
- olive oil
- semolina flour
That’s it! Basically, if you’ve followed my blog for a little bit, these are common pantry staples that are featured in many of my recipes.
Whenever I’m working with a recipe that calls for yeast, I always proof it. Because there’s nothing worse than skipping this step just to find out that all of the ingredients went to waste because the yeast was old and inactive. Yeast is the magical ingredient that makes the dough soft and makes it rise.
So, place the yeast, lukewarm water, lukewarm milk, the sugar, and a little bit of flour in a mixing bowl along with the yeast. Give it a mix and set it aside for about 8 minutes or until you see a puffy cloud form on top of the mixture. Once you see that, the yeast is good and ready. You may proceed with the recipe.
Note: This recipe can be kneaded by hand in a large mixing bowl. However, if you own a stand mixer it makes life so much easier. This is the time to use it. The Kitchen Aid mixer that I own can be purchased right here.
Place the flour and salt in a bowl and whisk it together. Add the flour mixture to the yeast mixture along with the olive oil and knead it with the dough hook attachment for about 12 minutes. The dough will still be slightly sticky but more on the tacky side and it should be soft. Resist the urge to add too much flour.
However, if you are kneading it by hand, add enough flour until it is tacky and still very soft.
Place the kneaded dough in a bowl that has been greased with olive oil. Toss to coat the dough and cover with plastic wrap or with a kitchen towel. Set aside in the warmest part of your home until it has doubled in volume. This takes about an hour.
The Secret to the Pocket:
Once the dough has risen and has doubled in volume it’s time to shape the pitas.
Add flour to your work surface and separate the dough into 10 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball using the palm of your hand. See the video for the demo.
Then, using a rolling pin, roll out each portion of dough into a 6-7 inch circle. Use plenty of flour to do this. If the dough sticks to the surface and is uneven, it will not form a pocket when it is cooked. The secret lies in rolling the dough out evenly and not too thin. Unlike with other bread recipes, in this case, flour is your friend.
Sprinkle some semolina flour onto baking trays or on the countertop. Place each pita circle on top of the semolina and cover them with a clean kitchen towel for 30 minutes until they puff up slightly. The semolina flour will keep them from sticking and will add some nice texture to your bread.
There are two ways to cook the pita: in the oven or on the stovetop. I prefer cooking them on a cast-iron skillet on the stovetop. They take 2-3 minutes each.
Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat and place a pita circle inside of it. Flip it after 20-30 seconds. Continue to flip it every 30 seconds. After the third flip, it should start to puff up. This is how the pocket forms!! A magical moment.
The Stovetop Method:
If the pita begins to puff up on one side and then stops midway, there is probably a hole on the other side. Find that hole and using a spatula, press it slightly to seal the hole. Then, you will see it puff up all the way. Don’t worry if a few of the pita breads do not puff up. They will get better with practice. Also, if it is taking too long for them to puff up, increase the heat slightly. Then, decrease the heat so that it is back to medium for the next pitas.
The Oven Method:
Preheat the oven to 525 °F, 270 °C.
Place the pitas on baking trays that are lined with parchment and have been sprinkled with semolina flour.
Bake the pitas until they puff up and create the pockets. This takes about 4 minutes. Keep in mind that they will not develop too much color and will stay pale.
Remove the trays from the oven and allow the pitas to cool. Serve immediately and store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to one week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
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Once the pitas are ready use them to make delicious sandwiches with:
- Greek-American Gyros
- Chickpea Patties Sandwiches
- Leftover Lamb Pitas
- Chicken Souvlaki
- Chicken Gyros
- Chicken Shawarma
Serve the Pitas on a Mezze board with delicious dips:
- The Dry Ingredients:
- • 4 and ¼ cups (648 g) all-purpose flour
- • 2 teaspoons salt
- The Wet Ingredients:
- • 1 cup (250 ml) lukewarm water
- • 1 cup (250 ml) lukewarm whole milk
- • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- • 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a tabletop mixer that is fitted with the dough hook attachment, add all of the wet ingredients except for the olive oil. Allow the yeast to activate for 8 minutes. As soon as a puffy cloud forms at the top of the mixture, the yeast is active.
- Add the olive oil along with all of the dry ingredients and knead on low speed for 12 minutes.
- Lightly grease a large bowl with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and transfer the dough to the bowl. Toss to coat in oil and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in the warmest room of your home to rise until doubled in volume. About 1 hour.
- Cut the dough into 10 equal portions.
- Lightly flour your work surface and roll each portion of dough out into about 6-7-inch circles. Keep their thickness even. Use as much flour as needed to roll them out evenly.
- Sprinkle some semolina flour onto the work surface and place each rolled out piece of dough on it.
- Cover the dough with a clean kitchen towel and allow it to rise for 30 minutes.
- Warm a cast-iron pan over medium heat.
- Cook each pita 20-30 seconds per side and continue cooking until it puffs, and the pita is fully cooked (see video).
- If the pita is not puffing up, increase the heat a little bit.
- Transfer the pitas to a plate and serve immediately.
- Leftover pitas can be stored in an airtight bag or container and kept in the freezer or the refrigerator until ready to use.
To make whole wheat pitas, substitute 2 cups of whole wheat flour for 2 cups of all-purpose flour. This dough can be kneaded by hand. Knead it until it is no longer sticky. It should stay soft and tacky.